Plants with multi-colored foliage, called ‘variegated’, are always popular, for the brightness they bring to our gardens, and that extra color all season long. They make a great relief from endless green, and they can be striking accents. Variegated plants that have green leaves with white edges around them are favorite patterns of variegation with everyone. Consider for a moment the well-known and popular boxwood plant, valued as hedges and specimens by every gardener. Now imagine that plant, in all its varied uses, but with the richness and color of variegation – lovely white margins around all those glossy leaves. What a great plant that would be. Well, we have it, with the fabulous Emerald Moon™ Boxwood.
The Emerald Moon Boxwood is a rounded, evergreen bush with small leaves, that in time, if unclipped, will grow to 5 or even 8 feet tall and wide. Although boxwood is often clipped, it is not necessary, and unclipped plants are great background shrubs and fillers for the corners of beds or among the planting around your home. Consider using this plant in that kind of fashion, forgetting about clipping and letting it become a larger mature plant. It may take a little time, as this plant only grows 3 to 6 inches a year, but it will look attractive through all the stages of its growth.
The foliage of the Emerald Moon Boxwood is its major feature, and it distinguishes this plant from almost every other boxwood variety. The oval leaves are about 1-inch long, and a ½-inch wide, with a smooth, glossy surface and smooth edges. The background color of the leaves is a rich, mid-green, and around the edges of the leaf is a broad, irregular band that is white when the leaves are new, turns cream as they mature, and become pale yellow on older leaves. From a distance the whole plant has a bright, fresh and lively look, quite different from the more somber appearance of an ordinary boxwood. It can be used as a colorful accent plant in beds or clipped into a bright hedge up to 3 feet tall. Boxwood is very responsive to trimming, and it becomes dense and solid with a regular clip. Balls of this plant at the ends or corners of a plain green boxwood hedge would be great accents. So would plants grown in pots on either side of an entrance, or the corners of a terrace. The possibilities are endless, and this cheerful plant can find a home in every garden.
The Emerald Moon Boxwood will grow anywhere in zones 6 to 8. For warmer or colder zones, we recommend Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica), which is more cold resistant, and more resistant to heat and humidity too. The Emerald Moon Boxwood is a variety of the American boxwood, which grows best in moderate climates, in both full sun and partial shade. It tolerates significant amounts of shade, but too much will make the growth weaker, thinner, and reduce the contrast of the variegation as well. The soil should be rich, moist and well-drained. Although established plants will tolerate some drought, plants do best with a good supply of water. The root system is shallow, so avoid digging or cultivating around you plant. Instead, mulch with organic materials to conserve moisture, keep the roots cool, and control weeds at the same time. Use an evergreen fertilizer in spring and again in mid-summer, to encourage vigorous growth, especially if you trim your plant regularly. Wait until the danger of frost has passed before beginning to trim in spring, and don’t trim during hot, dry weather, or after early fall, to avoid winter injury. Boxwood is easy to grow with a little attention, and although some pests and diseases are reported, plants that are fertilized, water regularly and trimmed once or twice a year normally stay free of major problems. Deer do not normally eat boxwood.
American boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, is not an American native plant, but a European plant that was introduced by the early settlers, among other plants they brought with them from England and Europe. There is has been widely used for centuries for formal gardens and clipped hedges. A lower-growing form, called ‘Suffruticosa’ is often called ‘English boxwood’, as it was introduced to America much later. Today there are many varieties available, but the variety called ‘Argenteo-variegata’, or sometimes simply ‘Variegata’, has been known since at least 1770, and probably before 1629. With such a long history behind it, we know that generations of gardeners have found this plant reliable and valuable as a garden ornament. Today we are making it available with the trademark name of Emerald Moon™, and this useful plant is always in high demand. Order now and bring brightness and color to your garden, with this great evergreen – we know they will be gone very soon.